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Warriors 5 years waiting in the wings for $6m
Thirteen Soca Warriors who represented T&T in the 2006 World Cup campaign were yesterday awarded over US$1.1 million as an interim payment, in a lawsuit brought by the footballers seeking to collect bonuses promised to them. Footballers Aurtis Whitley, Brent Sancho, Atiba Charles and Cyd Gray, were visibly elated at the decision, but remained pleasantly quiet. They, together with 10 other national footballers, who represented T&T in Germany, would each have an equal share in the interim award of US$1,140,384.89.
Justice Devindra Rampersad ordered the interim payment after rejecting the accounting documents which were submitted by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF). “I feel there has been non-compliance with the order,” he said. He noted that there were several disparities in the accounting documents. These, he said, were not properly accounted for by auditors Rampersad and Co. “It is all so cloudy right now,” Rampersad (Devindra) said. Among the disparities, he said, was the non-accountability for $1 million Swiss francs.
Also, several million received from private sector funding was not properly accounted for, he said. “That has not been accounted for,” he said. As a result, he ordered the TTFF to prepare new accounting records which are to be “itemised” on an “Excel spreadsheet”. Rampersad was expected to rule yesterday on payment in the lawsuit but was thwarted by the incomplete accounting reports. He told attorney Derek Balliram, counsel for the TTFF, that the accounting records were not in proper order and did not properly account for the funds of the TTFF.
The ‘roller coaster’ matter which had been resolved in the United Kingdom was sent to Rampersad, then to the Court of Appeal and again back to the lower court judge. The proceedings were filed in November 2008, initially by 16 players who demanded that the High Court enforce the judgment of the London-based Sport Dispute Resolution Panel (SDRP). The panel had ruled in May, 2006 under the terms of a contract, agreed by FIFA Executive Committee member and TTFF special adviser Jack Warner that the Soca Warriors were owed 50 per cent of all 2006 World Cup commercial revenue. But the TTFF claimed that a breach of confidentiality by the players meant they were no longer bound by the agreement. Attorneys for both sides return to court next Friday.